What roles should the CEO and CTO have in a VC meeting?

In our upcoming VC meeting, both myself (CEO) and my partner (CTO) are attending. I would like to know: 1. Which one of us should start the talk? 2. What aspects of the business should each of us talk about? 3. Who should answer to the questions? Does the VC usually address one of us specifically or he may throw a question and expect an answer from either one?


The more important first impressions to leave a VC with are:
1) That you both are credible and inspire confidence that you can execute the plan you're fundraising on.
2) That there is good chemistry and a great relationship between the two of you;
3) That you can adequately address the concerns/objections/questions the VC raises.

The CEO is expected to do most of the talking because the CEO should be the best person in the company at articulating the vision and value of the product and company you're building.

If your CTO is comfortable presenting part of the pitch, it would be ideal for the CTO to speak to the product slides. The most important thing is for the CTO not to be a "bump on the log" meaning that you don't want them sitting there for most of the presentation with nothing to say. If you feel that's the case, you really shouldn't bring your CTO. Most VC meetings will not get technical and under the hood.

Each question answered should be answered by the person best qualified to speak to that question. You should make eye-contact with your partner and use subtle body language to find a way to cue the other person to speak to that question or simply offer "CTO, would you like to answer that?"

Bottom line, make sure that the CTO can speak confidently enough about the product and vision, otherwise -unless specifically asked by the VC - come alone.

Fundraising is a big distraction to building and a good VC will always respect that in a first meeting, the CTO can be excused from attending in priority of building product.

Happy to talk to you both on a call about helping get you feeling a bit more confident and prepared before your meeting. I was formerly a VC associate for a $500m fund and have raised money from VCs as a serial entrepreneur.

Answered 7 years ago

The most important thing in my opinion is that you both be able to quickly and confidently answer whatever question they throw at you without having to look at the other person for answers, confirmation.

Answered 7 years ago

My opinion...
1) CEO should start the talk. Beyond that, it depends on the people (team of CEO/CTO) and subject matter as far as who speaks the most and when.
2) In my experience CEO leads discussion and invites commentary (slides) from CTO as needed per agenda, and this is usually on technology/product design. CTOs (like many engineers) occasionally need coaching on communicating at proper level of detail to meet meeting objective.
3) CEO is responsible for raising money so this person should manage (lead) the discussion as a general rule. A weak CEO in a pitch format is a warning sign for VCs. Obviously though, if a question is directed toward CTO, opportunity to answer should be provided. VCs throw questions from many directions based on their own interests so anything goes. Know your stuff. Know how much time you have to get through it. Believe in it and be ready. Happy to discuss in greater detail.
Good Luck!

Answered 6 years ago

The best pitches tend be from teams that gel and roles usually aren't essential for that to happen. I would say that whoever is a better presenter should probably lead, thats usually the CEO but not always. Whoever leads, the other person will do well to jump in when the time is right. Those spots can be when you need to hammer home a point and the other person sees an opportunity to restate something from a slightly different angle to make sure all the people in attendance are "getting it". Read the audience and both members of your team can drive the velocity.

When it comes to the technical parts of the pitch, certainly your cto will want to shine and show that he/she has the chops for whatever it is your doing. One thing I've come to look for though is a team that knows each other's roles a bit. The "non-technical" co-founder who doesn't know the difference between PHP and HTML come across weak in my book. The best founder teams really compliment each other but also have a slight bit of crossover. It helps you counter balance and spot check assumptions, etc.

Hope that helps. We could talk for hours on this as I've both pitched dozens of VC's as a founder trying to raise money, as an investor trying to raise a fund and an partner in an seed fund looking to back companies.

Answered 7 years ago

You, the CEO should do all the talking. Period. At this point, no one cares about the CTO.

You may certainly introduce your CTO and explain that he is here should any investor have any questions, but they likely will not. At the initial pitch, the investors assume the product works as you describe it, and if they have any serious questions about the product, they will save that for later discussion.

Right now, the only thing the VC is interested in is whether your company will make money. The actual product is only one issue, and usually not the most important one. The management team is.

Every investor I have ever spoken with has stressed that they would rather invest in "A" class management team with a "B" class product than the other way around. That's because a mediocre management team won't be able to sell or market even a top notch product.

So this isn't about the product, it is about you and your management team.

You should only spend about 20% of your time talking about the product. The rest of your time must discuss your experience and your management teams network and experience in selling and marketing products of a similar nature. You must talk about who the customer is and what your plan is to reach them directly. You must talk about how much money you will make, when you will be profitable, what the money you ask for will be used and so on.

Remember: the investor is investing in your company, not your product. There is a big difference.

Answered 4 years ago

Both CEO and CTO have a crucial role. Ideally the CEO should initiate the conversation and handover the technical part to CTO. The CEO should discuss about vision, growth, market and scalability and CTO should talk about product, technology stack and endurance of the product.
Depending upon the nature of question, CEO and CTO should decide who answers.

Answered a year ago

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